While butter tarts are known for being a delicious anytime dessert, the sweet treat has recently become quite sour for two neighboring Ontario communities.
Wellington North trademarked the title of its “Butter Tart Trail” where visitors to the township can visit a variety of butter tart stops. In fact, we previously covered it for Weekendtrips. Wellington North’s 100 km road trail exclusively focuses on the sinfully sweet treat, and on the tour of 30 bakeries, visitors get to explore 12 different tart varieties.
Recently, the Kawarthas-Northumberland region produced its own “Butter Tart Tour” and this has resulted in a lot of controversy… and attention for both Ontario townships. Upon learning of the other tart trek, Wellington North filed a cease and desist letter against the Kawarthas-Northumberland use of the term “tour.” The Kawarthas-Northumberland region responded by writing Wellington North response letter to get a better understanding of the use of the term. The major difference between the pair is that Wellington North’s Butter Tart Trail includes stops where local vendors might sell a Butter Tart themed product while the Kawarthas only features butter tarts that are made on-site.
During my stay in the Kawarthas region, I had the chance to check out a couple of these stops and taste some of the best butter tarts in the country.
My first stop was the Bobcaygeon Bread Company (9 King St. E., Bobcaygeon ON) where I tried a pecan tart. The Bobcaygeon Bread Company has sporadic hours so I was lucky to sneak in just before it closed for the day. The tart itself was sweet and runny which only added to its originality and uniqueness. I was charmed by the owner of the place and he was indicative of the good-natured friendliness that Kawartha-Lakes is synonymous for.
I also popped into the Kawartha Coffee Company (49 Bolton St., Bobcaygeon ON) and tried a plain butter tart and paired it with an iced mocha. It was much firmer than its predecessor but also just as good. I quickly found that my skills as a tart sommelier still need a lot of work.
Finally, before heading home, I popped into what is widely regarded as the best butter tart shop in the country, Betty’s Pies & Tarts (7380 County Road 2, Cobourg ON) in Cobourg. Easily one of the most impressive baking set-ups that I have ever seen, Betty’s tarts are known throughout the province for being the best and they certainly lived up to the expectation. The tarts were fresh, and baked exquisitely. They didn’t make a mess at all and were sweet but not to the point where they were too sugary. Enjoying one helped make the ride back to Toronto emphasized the sweet in my bittersweet feelings about leaving the Kawarthas-Lake region.
Oh and in true Canadian fashion, Wellington North and the Kawarthas-Northumberland have appeared to resolve their conflict and are preparing to collaborate on future butter tart promotions together. How about that eh?
Here’s a video of Betty’s Pies & Tarts: